‘We’re Sorry’ artist comes into the open

Image Courtesy: Oddur Eysteinn Friðriksson

The Icelandic artist revealed himself to Namibia Fact Check in an email and explained his motivations for the fake Samherji apology

In his press release mailed to Namibia Fact Check on 17 May 2023, the artist named Oddur Eysteinn Friðriksson states:

“”We’re Sorry,” an interactive concept and performance artwork of  which samherji.co.uk is an integral part, is more than just an artistic expression—it represents the  profound regret that Namibians so rightfully deserve from Iceland following the grievous actions  of Samherji hf in Namibia. 

As an artist and an Icelander, I extend an apology to Namibia on behalf of the entire  Icelandic nation. We stand together in our condemnation of the exploitation that has unfolded. This  shameful episode has left an ugly stain on our national history, tantamount to the imperialistic  policy of a private entity against a sovereign nation. The anger and shame resonate across our  entire nation.”

He goes on to say:

“We’re Sorry” is my final project for my BA in Fine Arts at The Iceland University of Arts  and will be exhibited in the Reykjavík Art Museum in the school group exhibition titled “Rafall /  Dynamo”.”  

According to the link Friðriksson provided for the exhibition website, his exhibition will be viewable as from 18 May until 29 May 2023 at the Reykjavík Art Museum.

In his email to Namibia Fact Check, Friðriksson also pointed to the 11 May 2023 fact check debunking his fake Samherji apology stating:

Namibian Fact Check also ruled the website to be fake, but it should be noted that they did not in any way try to contact me or the contacts listed in the press release/website.”

It’s a fair criticism. In response, we acknowledge we should have reached out to Friðriksson, but because there was the potential for his fake Samherji apology to go viral and cause confusion, a quick response was necessary. At the same time the real Samherji had quickly issued a statement which distanced it from the fake apology, so there seemed no need to engage further with what looked like obvious disinformation.